20th February 2021 at 2:30 pm #122035
It’s getting to the point where I’m going to have to confide in family soon. I’m absolutely terrified of telling them the truth and I’ve been with him years. He’s nice as pie on the few occasions he does see them (he avoids most family events unless he absolutely has to such as Christmas); interesting, chatty, friendly, funny, polite, charming etc. He is excellent at conversation and pleasing people.
I tend to get ignored a bit when I’m in the room with him as he draws people in so well.
He has already spoken to someone in my family behind my back sort of painting himself as a victim of me being angry all the time. They believed him.
They’re aware he has some mental health problems and probably think he should involve himself more but they don’t know he’s abusive because I’ve always hidden everything from them and pretended/made excuses.
There is one family member I’m thinking of telling first, another I don’t want to tell until I really have to as I know they’ll be so worried and won’t be able to sleep at night etc.
Does anyone have any advice for telling them or how you went about it?
Part of me is still fighting telling anyone as then I know it’s real and I’ll have to act on it.
Also, part of me still feels obliged in some way to protect him
I’m literally running on anxiety at the moment as I know it’s make or break soon.
Thank you for reading xx
20th February 2021 at 3:17 pm #122037AnonymousInactive
I wrote a letter to my sister as I couldn’t find the words. As she didn’t know the whole truth she was suggesting I try marriage counselling and said I really should try and work things out for the sake of our kids. Like you I had spent a long time protecting him and lieing for him trying to make it were this perfect happy family. Now she knows the truth she is really supportive of my decision and has helped me. I haven’t found the strength to tell my other family members yet but I will. Sending hugs x*x
21st February 2021 at 1:45 am #122090Lazarus17Participant
The one family member I thought could bear it the best, I wrote a letter to, but sat with her to kind of fill in some of the blanks. (This was after I’d left). The person who I thought would really fret, I kind of drip fed them with information a bit at a time, (some before I’d left) so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone all of the real gory details. I just think it would be too painful (for them aswell as me). Although I suspect their imagination may have filled in those particular blanks.
I think, for me, giving snippets before I left actually helped me to leave – when you see someone’s negative reaction to something you consider “normal” is quite eye opening!
21st February 2021 at 5:22 am #122091KIP.Participant
I think your family may suspect more than you know. My family were surprised I’d lasted as long as I did. They watched from afar but didn’t want to intervene. I suppose it’s that thing about other people’s business and waiting for them to make the first move. You don’t even need to talk about the abuse until you’re ready. People end relationships every day. You don’t need to explain yourself. You’re desperately unhappy and in and unhealthy relationship and that’s enough for just now. I spent years waiting for my get out of jail free card so I wouldn’t look like the bad one but nobody really cares. Yes, he will play the victim but hopefully you won’t have to listen to him or his family because you will be miles away. Rebuilding your own life in a safe environment x
21st February 2021 at 7:14 pm #122138NeueranfangParticipant
I still haven’t been able to confide in my family.Mainly because they live abroad and I don’t think it would be fair to worry them when there is absolutely nothing they can do about it.They can’t even visit me to support me at the moment.However I confided in one of my work colleagues and my manager.It took me soooo much courage to do so but they have been very kind to me and very supportive.Now it feels like a massive weight off my shoulders.And for the first time it feels real.I’ve actually done it.I tried leaving many times in the past but never confided in anyone.This time is so very different.I gave a statement to police and I told people about what I’m going through as well as engaging with (detail removed by Moderator)!
21st February 2021 at 8:23 pm #122141DaffParticipant
I haven’t told my family the full extent. They know theres more to it and have tried to push. But i dont feel ready and im not sure i want them to know. Theres nothing they can do and they are there if i need them but i think it would hurt my parents and they are not well. I dont think one of my siblings would take it well and i have no idea what their reaction would be if they saw him. I dont want my children to find out everything even though the one knows alot (not because i told them). Make sure your comfortable telling them and that you get the help you need. Some days i feel like i should tell them, others i dont. If it feels right i will but in my own time. I felt to that it was wrong to say anything , i had been told for so long it was my fault. You owe him nothing, but you owe it to yourself to do what feels right to you, what helps you move forward and find happiness. Try speaking to womans aid or your doctor,it has helped me.
22nd February 2021 at 11:24 am #122167
Thank you everyone for your advice.
I think I assumed I would need to tell them there’s been abuse else they might think I can leave ‘normally’ with him agreeing to it. Surely as my only way to leave will be a secret escape so they’ll need to know things aren’t right for me to have to flee like that?
Also, scared they might feel sorry for him as he has mental health issues (they know he suffers with anxiety). Surely I’d need to get them to block him as I’d worry he’d contact them once he can’t get in contact with me. Otherwise he would probably be able to make them feel sorry for him.
I am feeling so consumed with guilt right now, I just wish I could fast forward years on or rewind back to before him. Even though he has done and said horrible things over the years I feel so guilty for stringing him along now pretending I want to be together. Does that mean I’m not ready to put myself first and accept he has done it all deliberately? Head just feels a mess. X*x
27th February 2021 at 11:10 pm #122448SILKIEParticipant
@gettingtired As much as I hate to admit it, I think my husband is starting to use my children to manipulate me (they are (detail removed by Moderator)). I spoke to my sister and she said ‘it’s not abuse, it’s not like you’re being hit or locked away’, it feels like she thinks I’m overplaying what has happened. My point is … if you decide to tell them, you need to be ready for the response that suggests they may sympathise with your partner. It was a shock, it still is.. ‘A heads up might have been nice’ is not what you want to hear when breaking away is hard enough to do.
With regards to your response, I have done exactly the same thing today! As he left, I had the uneasy feeling I’d been played. I am learning to trust my instincts, if it feels like I’m being manipulated… I am. I feel like I have strung him along (detail removed by Moderator) but he swept me up in a tide of love and adoration. He isn’t just stringing me along, he’s guilting me into taking him back. Reading these posts, I am starting to dislike him and I think this will help.
I wish you every strength for the battle ahead and hope you are able to trust yourself xx
8th March 2021 at 1:15 pm #122885
Thank you Silkie, I did try to reach out to one family member but was a bit vague with what I said. They didn’t pick up on the hints and instead got annoyed with me for not really saying what I meant. It’s so hard. I hope you’re ok xx
4th March 2021 at 5:42 am #122715CamelParticipant
Sorry I’ve come to your post a bit late. You seem to believe that your family will take his side over yours. Do you really believe that they expect you to stay with him forever, just because he suffers with anxiety? Surely they must have clocked that he’s never held down a job? Do you imagine this impresses them? They must have noticed that he avoids family gatherings but perhaps they’re relieved when he doesn’t turn up. You say he kind of holds court. They might think he’s a bit full of himself.
It could be they’ve assumed all along that you’re happy. Maybe they’ve never rated him but respect your choices.
Or maybe they do like him. Do you think that means your family will put his happiness above yours?
I don’t think you’ll ever meed to tell your family everything. It should be enough to say you want to leave but he’s making you stay. Ask them for shelter along with assurances that they’ll act as gatekeepers.
They might have been praying for years for you to leave him. Or they might be completely surprised that you feel the way you do. Either way, they are YOUR family, and I’d be very surprised if they didn’t offer you unquestioning support.
8th March 2021 at 1:19 pm #122886
Thank you Camel. Yes it’s embarassing to say the least about the jobs but as he’s always had an excuse I’ve just relayed that back to them and managed to try and cover up for it being his fault a bit. Anyway, about leaving, I feel like they’d be so shocked and want to know what’s going on. I guess I could say things are really bad, that I don’t want to talk about it yet and just need them to get me out. I’m sure if I expressed enough distress to leave they would help. There is one family member who I’m concerned would want to know why I’d ask them to block his number and social media etc. I’d want them to just do it without having to explain how abusive he is but unsure if they would agree to that withoit an explanation. Probably shouldn’t be worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet but obviously these thoughts are swirling around in my head. Still no idea how I’m going to get out yet. X*x
6th March 2021 at 12:09 am #122807MuddybootsParticipant
Hi GT, I’ve had mixed experiences telling my family. I told my sister the night he hit me, I was so shocked and upset and didn’t know what to do. In many ways she was amazing cos she stopped me from diminishing it in my mind, and for the first time helped me to see it was an escalating pattern of abuse, not a one off freak moment of violence. While her firmness did also make me feel a bit defensive, it stopped my mind from shimmying back into the “what could I do differently next time” space where I take on all the blame.
I held off telling my parents about the violence or abuse, but as I had kicked him out I did tell them we were having problems. Cos my mum was so worried about him I felt frustrated with her and ended up telling her everything to try and win her over to my side. She was really shocked at what he had done but was also still thinking along the lines of “maybe if we help destress his life he’ll be nicer”. So then I got her and my dad to read the Lundy Bancroft book to understand the nature of abuse better so they could avoid pandering to him and support me better. Talking to ppl, especially family members, about abuse when they don’t understand what it really is or what causes it is horrible, so I strongly suggest you ask them to do some reading so that you don’t have to educate them yourself. Also then I think it’s easier to ask them to do things (like blocking them) that they might otherwise resist.
Hope that’s helpful, good luck!
8th March 2021 at 1:30 pm #122887
Thank you Boots. This is what I’m dreading as I really don’t want to use the word abuse with them as I feel so ashamed and don’t want a big fuss caused.
I tried hinting to a family member about the situation but I was really quite vague and they ended up getting annoyed as didn’t understand what I was trying to say. Although I feel this was a good family member to tell intially, I’m worried if they know they’ll obviously be really concerned and start pushing me into getting out or pestering me which will stress me out more. At least everyone here and support workers understand it’s not as simple as just telling partner you wish to separate and that they’d let you leave normally.
Still not sure how I’m going to get out or what the future holds but my local domestic service should be getting in touch this week so I’m hoping them validating my experience might help me moving forward.
Your Mum worrying about your partner sounds a bit like how mine would probably react. They’ve advised me in the past of how to help him/us with his problems but they’ve no idea how vile he can be they’re just kind, empathetic people. Hope you’re ok xx
8th March 2021 at 11:48 pm #122916LottieblueParticipant
Hi there @gettingtired,
It’s funny, when I think back to that time, when I was about to do my midnight flit, I was on high alert, I knew what I had to do, and my family were incidental, if you see what I mean. Like you, I had spent my whole (long) marriage pretending, covering up, defending, so, as far as I was concerned, they had no inkling.
I had to tell one close family member a few days before the others, as I needed his assistance with something. I knew I could rely on him to help me, and I knew he’d understand that I needed to tell other family members as it became right for me.
I feel so lucky. My family were all completely fantastic, and still are.
What you might find useful is to find some web links which you can share with them after you’ve told them. I found a Guardian (I think) article which described the insidious abuse, constant criticism, loss of sense of self etc, and forwarded it to my mum. Perhaps excerpts from books?
My husband eventually got to me through my mum, so I had to hold my ground, but I agreed to talk to him through a third party just so he’d leave my mum alone. I’m sure they felt sorry for him but I think they realised how incredibly brave I’d been and that things must have been terrible for me to have left.
13th March 2021 at 9:24 pm #123167CamelParticipant
I think parents, particularly mothers, forget that we’re actually grown ups with our own life experiences, attitudes and opinions. I also think we’re guilty of letting our parents get away with speaking to us as if we’re still in our teens. We’re guilty of shielding them from things we think will disappoint or worry them.
Speaking from personal experience it’s taken me over 50 years to be able to assert myself as an equal with my mother. I still find it hard work.
GT, I think you need to approach your parents with much more self-assurance. You don’t need to apologise or explain, for past decisions or new ones. You don’t have to accept their attempts to ‘fix’ your relationship. You don’t have to listen to their opinions. You don’t have to take into account their concerns for your (soon to be) ex.
You may be their child, but you’re not a child. It’s perfectly acceptable to tell them that you don’t want to go into details. It’s OK to say that they’re entitled to their opinions but you don’t want to hear them. OK to insist they don’t communicate with your ex.
And, most importantly, if they won’t respect your (adult) demands, then you must find somewhere else to stay.
GT, you don’t need your parents approval to leave. And, being typically blunt now, you don’t need to move back in with your mum at all. You’ve been independent for a long time, been continuously employed, had rental agreements and paid the bills. All in spite of a no-good waster of a partner and without the support of your family. What I’m saying is, if you don’t need your parents’ financial support and if you’re uncertain of their emotional support, why stay there?
You’re a resourceful and strong woman with options! Don’t make things harder than they have to be. Think about where you want to live once you leave – and why not just go straight there? xx
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